07 September 2010

The Art Gallery

School has just started for us here in the Netherlands, so it is the time of year where excitement runs high.  So high, in fact, that my kids are overjoyed to bring home every single piece of artwork and have it proudly displayed on any vertical surface that can be found.

I am happy to comply with this request; I think it makes our house feel happier and cozier when we can see a child's view of the world.  But then there is always the question of what to do with said artwork when its viewing life has come to an end?  Saving it is compulsory here, at least for a while.  So each child has a special box where the best pieces are kept.

But by the end of one school year, the box is overflowing onto the closet shelf.  And, at least while my kids are in their young elementary years, I know the cycle will start again the following September.  So what to do?  I've tried sorting, purging, and then sorting again.  But still the artwork continues to multiply.  

I would love to save it all, but in the end I have to only keep the best of the best.  In order to preserve the stuff labeled "on the bubble", I created a digital file for each child.  The few masterpieces from each year are kept in their original format.  I even framed a couple spectacular works that I wanted to fully preserve.  But then the other items that didn't quite make the cut were clearly labeled and photographed.  I was sure to include the name of the artist, the date (or at least the year), and a short description of the work.  I grouped some smaller items into one photograph, and created a special art file grouped chronologically.  These photos are included in slide shows that we periodically display on our television or computer screens.

It would be nice to save all the artwork that passes through my front door, but controlling the paper helps to control the chaos.  And with this digital format, we have managed to preserve the memories surrounding the actual art.  And we still have room for more.

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